NORTH MANKATO — New Ulm Cathedral captured its seventh Class A state softball title Thursday afternoon at Caswell Park as the No. 1-ranked Greyounds downed perennial power New Life Academy 3-1 despite being outhit 11-7.
Sophomore right-hander Anna Mohr seemed to find another gear when the Eagles (21-3) threatened to surge past Cathedral. After setting the five-time state champions down in order in the bottom of the first, Mohr was busy wiggling out of jams in every inning the rest of the way. The Eagles stranded 11 runners on base, including a pair in each of the final six frames.
"We've shown some grit all through our playoff run," legendary Cathedral coach Bob Mertz said. "Anna has ice in her veins and for a sophomore to show that much composure is really neat.
"To hold three teams in this tournament to one run is special. We've now won championships in three decades"
Cathedral (26-1) managed only a second-inning single from senior catcher Karlee Pfaff through two innings off Eagles' junior right-hander Valerie Hohol. However, a two-out rally an inning later produced a pair of runs. Sophomore left fielder Jenessa Rothmeier rocketed a double to deep center field before a walk and hit batter set up Pfaff's two-run chopper through the hole.
"I just relaxed and hoped for the best," Pfaff said. "Once again it was our defense that pulled us through. You get nervous when there's runners on base with big hitters coming up.
"Our defense stayed calm and Anna did her thing on the mound to get outs. Anna is always calm out there. It's her game and she knows how to handle herself out there."
After Mohr recorded two of her four strikeouts to strand runners on second and third base in the fourth, the Eagles scored their lone run an inning later when Hohol's one-out RBI liner up the middle scored a singling Chloe Westlund.